Just over an hour ago the Fed disclosed that as part of its most recent reverse repo operation, it had handed out to 93 dealer banks and other financial intermediaries, both foreign and domestic, some $242 billion in Treasurys in what is now the biggest reverse repo operation in history, a privilege for which the collateral-starved banks paid the Fed the king's ransom of 0.05% in annual interest, i.e., nothing.
"The USA is exhibiting pretty severe signs of that sclerosis in the demented behavior of its leaders in episodes such as the current unnecessary manufactured fiasco over Ukraine to the physical deterioration of our towns, roads, bridges, and all the plastic crap we managed to smear over the mutilated landscape to the comportment of our demoralized, mentally inert, drugged-up, tattoo-bedizened populace of twerking slobs."
One of the evils of massive over-financialization is that it enables Wall Street to scalp vast “rents” from the Main Street economy. These zero sum extractions not only bloat the paper wealth of the 1% but also fund a parasitic bubble finance infrastructure that would largely not exist in a world of free market finance and honest money. The infrastructure of bubble finance can be likened to the illegal drug cartels. In that dystopic world, the immense revenue “surplus” from the 1000-fold elevation of drug prices owing to government enforced scarcity finances a giant but uneconomic apparatus of sourcing, transportation, wholesaling, distribution, corruption, coercion, murder and mayhem that would not even exist in a free market. The latter would only need LTL trucking lines and $900 vending machines. In this context, the sprawling empire known as Bloomberg LP is the Juarez Cartel of bubble finance.
American exceptionalism is a common theme in any policy debate surrounding the United States. We have to protect American manufacturing, protectionists ignorant of economics argue, because America is exceptional. We have to pass expansive welfare programs to care for the poor, because America is exceptional. Most recently, we have to intervene in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, because America is exceptional. Why the imputed exceptionalism requires one country to police the world and meddle in matters that do not concern them remains unexplained.
Over the past month, there has been a lot of "Hilsenrathing", or the biased media urgently "explaining" to the Western world, just what Russia's actions mean both tactically in response to Ukraine developments, and strategically as part of Putin's global perspective. So instead of relying on the broken media narrative which serves merely to perpetuate US corporate interests and rally the public behind this or that company's geopolitical interests, here, straight from the horse's mouth, in this case Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, how Russia sees itself in a world in which it is allegedly "isolated", and "threatening Ukraine" with further invasion but more importantly, how the Russians view the rapidly changing global balance of power, in which post-USSR Russia has emerged from the backwood of slighted nations and stormed to the stage of nations who dare defy the former global hegemon, the US.
It just hasn't been JPMorgan's year. Or several years for that matter. The bank which has been on a steady downward slope when it comes to paying billions in quarterly "non-recurring, one-time" legal settlements and charges, and for which engaging in criminal behavior which is neither admitted nor denied, yet which has cost JPM nearly $30 billion in the past several years, has just had its latest "wristslapping" incident, one which involves none other than the recently departed CEO of JPM Asia, Fang Fang, whose office was raided on March 26 by Hong Kong's anti-corruption agency amid a U.S. investigation into the bank’s hiring practices as reported by Bloomberg.
Angry Germany Asks "Is It Time For A Formal Espionage Investigation?" After Latest NSA Spying RevelationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/29/2014 11:56 -0400
This week just happens to be the 160th anniversary of Britain and France’s declaration of war on Russia in what would eventually become known as the Crimean War. Part 1. At the time, Russia was a rising power. Other nations in the region– particularly France and the Ottoman Empire, were in obvious decline. All of this should sound familiar. As Mark Twain said, history might not necessarily repeat, but it certainly rhymes. By dropping Russia from the G-8, they’re proving beyond a doubt that the G8 has no power... and practically shoving Russia into bed with China. This is a classic example of how formerly great powers accelerate their own decline. And Mr. Obama and his colleagues seem to be following this playbook to a T.
Bank of America No Longer Even Bothers To Blame The "Weather" Or "Storms" For Weak Consumer SpendingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2014 09:35 -0400
Two weeks ago, when Bank of America found that its weekly retail spending data has continued coming in far weaker than expected compared to 2013, it did the laughable: it blamed not the weather in general, but one storm in particular, to wit: "once again adverse weather potentially impacted spending last week, as the storm “Titan” moved across the US over the weekend of March 1st and 2nd and was followed by yet another cold spell." Two weeks later, after shockingly BofA finds precisely the same weakness continuing into the end of a balmy March, it no longer even bothers looking for excuses. The sad reality: there are none.
A Turkish court has ruled against Prime Minister Erdogan's unilateral decision to ban Twitter from the nation after the threatened leak of corruption allegations. As The FT reports, the Ankara district court imposed a stay on the measure after hearing arguments from the Turkish Bar Association that the ban was disproportionate and illegal. While government officials have agreed they would implement the court's ruling, so far there has been no change. Twitter has officially responded expressing concern at the ban and filing further petitions to have it lifted as rumors spread of a "spectacular leak" in the next few days ahead of Sunday's elections.
Two years ago, on April 2, 2012, long before it became abundantly clear to even the most clueless CNBC hacks, we said that there will be no capex boom as long as corporate management teams abuse ZIRP (and yes, it is all the Fed's fault as we further explained) to allocate capital, most of it courtesy of low-cost debt, by providing quick returns to activist investors through dividends and buybacks, instead of reallocating the funds to grow the company by investing in Capex (the latest proof of the unprecedented lack of capital spending growth increase came earlier today) and SG&A or at least M&A. Two years later after our post, whose conclusion has been proven empirically by what has happened in the US economy where CapEx still refuses to pick up despite endless lies of some recovery that refuses to materialize except in talking head year-end bonuses, none other than the head of the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock's Larry Fink admits we were right all along.
Straight Out of the Third Reich - User's Manual
The dismal list of financial executive deaths has recently increased to 11 in the last few months. Speculation has surrounded many of these deaths (and suicides) as to the reasoning; none more than the first - William Broeksmit, an executive who worked in Deutsche Bank's risk function and advised senior leadership who hanged himself in his South Kensington home in late January. However, as the WSJ reports, we now know why this poor man felt compelled to take his own life: he was "anxious about various authorities investigating areas of the bank where he worked" (and yes, we are well aware of the grammatical and temporal impossibilities suggested by this article's title).
“Do You Think That Because I’m CHAIRMAN of The Intelligence Committee That I Just Say “I Want It”, and They Give It To Me? ...Submitted by George Washington on 03/25/2014 00:46 -0400
... They Control It. All Of It. ALL of It. ALL THE TIME. I Only Get – and My Committee Only Gets – What They WANT To Give Me.”
It seems the words of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk warning that “the world stands on the brink of conflict, the consequences of which are not foreseen... Not everyone in Europe is aware of this situation," are a little more real than some (US equity buyers) might suspect. As The Week's Crispin Black reports, at least 7,000 Polish workers in Europe have received call-up papers as army reservists in the last few weeks. Polish authorities dismiss it as "routine" but the men note this has never happened before.